October is normally a good to excellent month for fishing in our local waters. The days starts cooling in typical fall fashion and the baitfish are running amuck, bringing with them lots of predators eager to have a feast. Water temperatures also start cooling, making those fish that anglers are seeking out even more active and ready to attack just about any offering that fishermen present. This scenario would be the perfect fall forecast, but this October has been anything but perfect. Air temperatures have been very warm to downright hot, water temperatures have barely cooled, and as of this writing, are still reading in the middle seventy degree range and the cooling pattern has been very limited if it attempts any cooling at all. But even with the strange October weather, the fishing has been outstanding to outright excellent, at least at some point during the month and with the current weather pattern being forecast, some great fishing looks to be had into the month of November and maybe even beyond. Weekend weather was a little rough for the boaters, but conditions look to improve to manageable towards the weekend.
The king mackerel fishing has been very good along the beaches the past couple of weeks, particularly in the Topsail and Surf City waters. Johnnie Mercers Pier, in Wrightsville Beach, has managed a few fish here and there the past week, catching up to 6 or 7 fish in a day, but on Monday, they had one of the most epic king mackerel days that many have ever heard of. From start to finish, anglers managed to land 32 king mackerel while live baiting off the end of the pier. While unknown if this is a record catch for any pier in North Carolina, it is no doubt a pier record of landings for Mercers. With the cold front that arrived Monday night, we’ll have to wait and see if the fishing continues to be as good through the week. The king mackerel fishing slowed over the weekend to the north so it appears the fish are making their way down the beach, following the bait, so it’s a guessing game how long they hang around.
Surf fishing has been really good, with lots of catches of Virginia mullet and pompano and even a few spots coming from the suds. Cut bait has been drawing some interest from red drum and bluefish as well as some black drum. When conditions finally start cooling a little, the mullet fishing should start getting really good with some larger fish being reported.
Inshore, the red drum fishing has been good in the creeks and also around the docks. Both live and artificial baits have been producing. Some anglers have been enjoying a good topwater bite on the cloudy mornings in the deeper creeks. There have been some reports of keeper flounder being found around the local waters but the better fishing for bigger fish has been towards Carolina Beach and also in the Cape Fear River. Speckled trout fishing has improved slightly around Wrightsville Beach, but with the warm waters still around, fishing has been tough but not impossible for a species that should normally be very prevalent in local waters. Hopefully the specks will arrive in short order and in good numbers. The river and areas to our north have been doing better with both quantity and quality of trout.